Les Roches Foundation

The early years

Les Roches didn’t start off as a Swiss hospitality management school, but as an international boarding school – the vision of the four Clivaz brothers.

The brothers grew up in Bluche, with its expansive skyscapes, stunning views over the Valais Alps and the Rhone Valley, and air that is said to sparkle like champagne.

Marcel and Jean-Pierre started winter ski camps in 1952.  These camps were so successful, that parents asked if they would start a school for their children all year round.

Entrepreneurs, educationalists and internationalists, the brothers started to plan how they could create a business that would meet the education needs of the growing number of expats in Geneva.

They secured buildings and land in Bluche near the family home to found the first and only international boarding school in Valais, offering American and European-standard study programs.

Les Roches – meaning ‘The Rocks’ in English – opened its doors in 1954 with 60 children aged 12-18.  The girls were housed in Prés-Fleuris and the boys in Les Roches.

A new school and a new way of life were born.


Respond to the demand and rely on yourself. Have the courage and good will to develop.

Francis Clivaz on his greatest challenge

The Clivaz’ vision:


  • To create an international co-educational boarding school, giving children a balanced curriculum of educational, sporting and social events in a wholesome and supportive environment
  • Children would live, work and play with other children of diverse national, religious and racial backgrounds
  • Children would be equal in their status, irrespective of the families from which they came
  • The school would be free from political influence and deliver a neutral education

Nearly 100 nationalities are represented on campus.

Francis Clivaz on his greatest source of pride and satisfaction

Historical Timeline


The Clivaz brothers start to run winter ski camps, attracting children mainly from Italy and France


Doors to Les Roches open in September 1964 with 60 children aged 12-18


Les Prés-Fleuris

les roches

Les Roches

Next decade : The 1960s

The 1960s saw a steady growth in the number of enrolled students. By the mid-60s, the number of students had risen to 220, from 60 different countries in five different continents, with a large student body from the USA and Iran, among other nations.